2013 a make or break year for Australian manufacturing: AWU

AWU’s national secretary Paul Howes has criticised Boral’s handling of the 700 redundancies announced yesterday and called for the government to take action on last year’s Prime Minister’s taskforce report.

Howes said the year was off to a “shocking start” for the industry, with Boral’s cuts coming soon after BlueScope Steel said 170 jobs would be cut at its Western Port steel mill.

“We know that 2013 will be the making or breaking year for the future of Australian manufacturing,” he said in a statement reported by The Australian and others.

Howes pointed out that manufacturing employed five times as many workers as the mining sector, needed a greater focus by the federal government, and would benefit from the adoption of recommendations made by non-government members of the PM’s manufacturing taskforce, which delivered its report in August last year.

"This week's job losses at Boral and BlueScope Steel underline the need for the Federal Government to make a strong response to the recommendations of the Prime Minister's Manufacturing Taskforce,” said Howes.

"There is no silver bullet to the crisis in manufacturing, but we need a comprehensive plan to take the sector into the future."

The AWU boss also criticised Boral CEO Mike Kane’s handling of the job cuts.

"At this stage it is unclear as to what parts of Boral's business will be most affected,” said Howes.

"It's not fair on workers to leave them in limbo, not knowing whether or not they have a secure job.”